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hustlerinc

RPG without classes.

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hustlerinc    169
Hi, I would like to get some feedback on this setup for an RPG. I have no team, and no intention of doing this game anytime soon.
This is strictly theoretical.

I will try to briefly explain how I would see a RPG without classes work.

Say that a player starts a character as level 1 human (or whatever races are implemented).
On this level he has a basic melee attack, nothing else. When reaching level 2, he gains 1 talent point.

This talent point will be used in a complicated talent tree, and how he chooses to spend these talents will define the "class" his character gets.
For example this first talent might be spent on the dark magic part of the talent tree (or melee if he prefers that).

Our hypothetical player chooses shadowbolt rank 1/10. This gives him a new spell to put on his actionbar. With appropriate damage to his level. And on rank 10 it will be end-game powerful.

Fast-forward to level 25, and our player kills his first boss in a dungeon. This boss drops a staff, requiring 20 talents spent on shadow (he has spent 25).
This staff comes with a new awesome shadow spell, giving our player another spell to put on his actionbar.

In the end-game there would be sets of equipement that reward awesome spells if complete.

Another way to gain spells would be looting scrolls/parchments and completing long quest-chains. But the first quest would require a certain amount of talents to be spent.

Maybe even implement extremely rare spells that seriously benefits you, imagine the feeling when looting a spell that only 2-3 other players on the server have.

Building the class system like this has many benefits, the primary one being variation in player spells, and thus a bigger variation in playstyles.
I feel the current games are too monotone in their classes, taking WoW in comparison, you are either a firemage using fireball scorch and fireblast, or you are a frost mage, spamming frostbolts etc.

It would also give a deeper feeling of building your character through quests, dungeons and equipment grinding in the end-game since you gain more than just extra health and bonus damage, you gain abilities you wouldn't have otherwise.

While this might not be everyones cup of tea I would really like to play a game with this mechanic (if it is implemented in any current or old game please let me know).

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this? Would you like to see this in a game? Do you have any improvements?

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NetGnome    773
I've always liked games that allow more "nebulous" character definitions. What i mean by that, is that as the player, i don't feel railroaded into a particular playstyle or class setup. So, I completely support a system like the one you're describing. This is what makes games like Dungeons of Dreadmore so fun. Tenets of what you're describing are also how i'm considering setting up aspects of character growth in my project, because i too want to give my players choice.

The only negatives i can think of to systems like this is that balance can get wonky if you allow too-much here-n-there choice, but if you use that branching mechanic, that should work out. Also, equipment and loot drops may need to be weighted in the players favor so that items are interesting to the player and not vendor fodder ;)

Otherwise, i love it :)

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hustlerinc    169
[quote name='Net Gnome' timestamp='1333189145' post='4926899']
The only negatives i can think of to systems like this is that balance can get wonky if you allow too-much here-n-there choice, but if you use that branching mechanic, that should work out. Also, equipment and loot drops may need to be weighted in the players favor so that items are interesting to the player and not vendor fodder ;)
[/quote]
Yeah, even though nothing stops the player from spending talents all over the place this would make him a very mediocre player in the end-game. But I'm sure players will find ways to exploit this freedom and create semi-good self-healing, tank-equiped, dps casters. And in a way creating paladins/shamans as in WoW.

The game-design should try to encourage this to a degree instead of making it a hole in the talent tree.

A game like this would require some serious thinking, testing and more thinking to make it somewhat balanced before it could hit the markets. But I would definately play it. Such a shame the big studios with the resources of creating such games spend them on recreating safe bets.

The most interesting part to me is what classes would spawn from this freedom, and how players decide to setup their character.

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NetGnome    773
[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1333190220' post='4926903']
The most interesting part to me is what classes would spawn from this freedom, and how players decide to setup their character.
[/quote]

Knight-Lock Fire-Mace Rogue-a-mancer! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]

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ImmoralAtheist    118
@hustlerinc


So you're saying that spells are not exclusively gained through putting skill points in talent tree's (or gaining levels). Certain spells may be linked to wearing an item or an armor sets, where you have to wear that item(s) to be able to cast that spell?
Isn't this slightly similar to skills in guild wars? You can only select a few spells at a time just as you can only wear a few items at a time. In Guild Wars many skills must be extracted from boss enemies, which is similar to have skills tied to gear carried. In Guild wars 2, you only have a few skill slots available at a time. 5 of those is dependent on the weapon you're carrying. Both games enables you to equip 1 elite skill, and some of these can be tricky to get, although not on the scale of getting a very high end gear set.

If you want some skills to be OP, you should ask what type of game you're making. In Warhammers RvR (keep sieging), perfect balance is not very important. Encounters will usually be decided by numbers and how effective players are at moving together (a small group can defend a keep vs a much larger army, if the enemy is unable to charge the throne room in unison).
In PVP battles where there's a small and equal number on each side, then balance is very important.

If you want hybrid classes (not pure fire/frost), then you can make hybrids equally powerful, or you can make them more powerful. Making them more powerful however might remove the pure specializations. Personally I would like if hybrids were the better approach. You can do this by making further specialization in a tree very expensive compared to benefits, or simply make it impossible to spend all your points in one specialization. You can also make sure players will have a need for several fighting styles. Some enemies might be near impossible to kill with a mage, and they're common enough to make regular exploring alone impossible without also learning non magic stuff. By encouraging hybrids, players will have characters that are more flexible, which I believe would be more fun.

In general, detaching skill learning and levelling can be a good thing. It would make perfect sense that a mage levelling up would increase his general ability to cast magic, but it would not give him new spells. New spells would be aquired through quests or other special stuff. Think some form of Mage College where many spells will only be learned to high ranking members.
I must say gaining spells by a boss item sounds a bit boring and generic. It should have a strong story element. Rising through the ranks in a community will open up more spells that the community is willing to learn you. I believe I would find this much more interesting.
At one point you could be given the option of abandoning that community for another, and the spells they teach will be forever lost (unless you already learned them). Instead you can learn spells from members of the new community.

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hustlerinc    169
[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333230765' post='4927032']
@hustlerinc

So you're saying that spells are not exclusively gained through putting skill points in talent tree's (or gaining levels). Certain spells may be linked to wearing an item or an armor sets, where you have to wear that item(s) to be able to cast that spell?
Isn't this slightly similar to skills in guild wars? You can only select a few spells at a time just as you can only wear a few items at a time. In Guild Wars many skills must be extracted from boss enemies, which is similar to have skills tied to gear carried. In Guild wars 2, you only have a few skill slots available at a time. 5 of those is dependent on the weapon you're carrying. Both games enables you to equip 1 elite skill, and some of these can be tricky to get, although not on the scale of getting a very high end gear set.
[/quote]
I've never played Guild Wars, but this sure sounds interesting, I will look it up.
[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333230765' post='4927032']
I must say gaining spells by a boss item sounds a bit boring and generic. It should have a strong story element. Rising through the ranks in a community will open up more spells that the community is willing to learn you. I believe I would find this much more interesting.
At one point you could be given the option of abandoning that community for another, and the spells they teach will be forever lost (unless you already learned them). Instead you can learn spells from members of the new community.
[/quote]
Yeah the thing with community has struck my mind aswell, take for example a big ordinary city, players living in that city give the city a certain amount of points.
And they work toghether to unlock NPC's, and there would be political roles for the more hardcore players.

This gives much a more living server, and might solve alot of the solo grinding. Since everyone benefits from one player benefiting.
And people living in other cities wouldn't want that city to grow (because then they get better) so they will try to prevent them with large raids on the city.

Got abit offtopic there but I have a rather big picture of my dream game, but realizing it would be hard for even the biggest of companys.

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Legendre    985
Sounds like "The Secret World"'s system: [url="http://www.neoseeker.com/news/18665-secret-world-developer-video-talks-freeform-gameplay/"]http://www.neoseeker.com/news/18665-secret-world-developer-video-talks-freeform-gameplay/[/url]

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hustlerinc    169
[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1333326644' post='4927322']
Sounds like "The Secret World"'s system: [url="http://www.neoseeker.com/news/18665-secret-world-developer-video-talks-freeform-gameplay/"]http://www.neoseeker...eform-gameplay/[/url]
[/quote]
That game looks awesome, will definately keep an eye on it. Thx. =)

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Legendre    985
[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1333342559' post='4927374']
[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1333326644' post='4927322']
Sounds like "The Secret World"'s system: [url="http://www.neoseeker.com/news/18665-secret-world-developer-video-talks-freeform-gameplay/"]http://www.neoseeker...eform-gameplay/[/url]
[/quote]
That game looks awesome, will definately keep an eye on it. Thx. =)
[/quote]

Oops, that link doesn't say much about the skill system. How about this one: [url="http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/404/feature/6219/The-Freeform-Progression-System.html"]http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/404/feature/6219/The-Freeform-Progression-System.html[/url]

Roughly (I didn't read it indepth), the main points are:

1) There are 500+ skills in the game.
2) Players gain EXP but do not "level up". They spent EXP to buy skills.
3) Skills unlock other skills.
4) Theoretically, it is possible to learn all 500+ skills but that would take so much EXP that most are expected to only learn a subset.

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Koobazaur    1264
A lot of action-RPGs do it this way, look at Deus Ex (the new and the original), System Shock 2, or even the Elder Scrolls series (albiet with an added twist that, aside from purchasable skills you also automatically "level up" those skill trees which you actually actively use).

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vreality    436
[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1333366467' post='4927444']4) Theoretically, it is possible to learn all 500+ skills but that would take so much EXP that most are expected to only learn a subset.[/quote]

Interestingly, although you can gain hundreds of skills, you can only - er... "equip" - a few at a time. While you can change which those are, at any time, the challenge is to put together useful combinations and get good at using them together. It's like a system which allows you to define an (effectively) infinate number of hybrid classes (as combintations of the skills you've learned, out of the hundreds available), and then lets you switch between your custom classes on the fly.

I've never been quite comfortable with games that "let you play any style you want", but make you choose the style up front, then learn what it's like to play it. And I don't like it when games make you spend limited resources on abilities ("five points per level - ten levels"), effectively locking you out of potential development paths with every unit you spend.

As long as this game doesn't emulate leveling by making skills more expensive the more skills or experience you've earned, then I like the idea. I feel like it really would give you the freedom to explore and experiment with play styles.

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Legendre    985
[quote name='VReality' timestamp='1333527228' post='4928135']
As long as this game doesn't emulate leveling by making skills more expensive the more skills or experience you've earned, then I like the idea. I feel like it really would give you the freedom to explore and experiment with play styles.
[/quote]

Unfortunately, it does. More skills earned = more expensive to unlock more. :(

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NetGnome    773
[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1333529674' post='4928143'] Unfortunately, it does. More skills earned = more expensive to unlock more. :( [/quote]

I think the devs said that is per-build though in TSW and you can have multiple builds. Its just a mechanic to make sure that a single build cant do everything.

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